Can I Walk My Dog With Kennel Cough? (All You Should Know)

Can I Walk My Dog With Kennel Cough? Photo of a dog with kennel cough with an harness ready for a walk.

If your dog has kennel cough and you’re wondering how to keep them on their daily exercise schedule, here’s what you should know about it!

You can walk your dog with kennel cough, but you’ll want to consider using a harness instead of a collar or even letting them run free if you have the space to do so. When your dog has kennel cough, they’re going to have a pretty sore trachea. Like any human sickness, doing anything with your dog that irritates that soreness will make it harder for them to recover and cause discomfort.

The basics of dogs and kennel cough

Dogs can catch kennel cough from each other relatively easily, as it’s an especially contagious respiratory disease. While it can be serious in puppies, as would many illnesses would be, it’s easily treated in adult dogs.

Recovery from kennel cough isn’t hard, but it does mean taking some care in how you approach your dog’s comfort. One of the main areas to change your habits is walking your dog!

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Is exercise good for a dog with kennel cough?

Exercise is good for dogs with kennel cough because it helps them keep their bodies moving and their blood circulating, and that all helps promote a stronger body. The stronger they are, the better and easier they’ll recover.

Like in any other illness, including humans, you’ll want to ease up on the exercising, though. If your dog is tired and happy to relax on his dog bed, don’t force him to go for a walk. If you want to walk your dog, take him for a short one or an easy one. Let your dog set the pace and timeframe of the walk!

Does kennel cough get worse with exercise?

Kennel cough can worsen with exercise because their breathing will speed up, and they’ll be more likely to irritate their inflamed throats. That’s why it’s important to walk slowly, for less time, and let your dog determine what to do and where to go.

If you notice that your dog’s symptoms worsen, urge them to rest and relax for a bit, even if they seem content to continue walking. You can always add in some more exercise after they’ve had a few hours to rest!

Can a dog with kennel cough go for walks?

There’s no reason you can’t take your dog for walks if they have kennel cough. The only thing is to ensure that you understand how kennel cough can impact both your dog and the potential health of other dogs. Some of the focus areas include:

Kennel cough vs. your dog’s throat

As the name suggests, kennel cough gives your dog a bad cough. This includes a very sore throat that will need lots of care as it heals. Since most dogs will wear a collar and have a leash attached, this is something to modify!

For their walks, while they recover, put your dog in a comfortable harness that doesn’t put pressure on their already sore throat as they walk. If you have the option of letting your dog run free, you can consider that, too, as mentioned above.

Kennel cough vs. your dog’s energy

Your dog will be tired as their body works hard to recover, as with any illness. Don’t try to put them through a 60-minute walk. Try a shorter one with lots of breaks if they need it.

Even if they seem energetic and “fine,” their body isn’t, and you need to keep them subdued. Pushing them to do too much will cause them to take longer to recover. While dogs don’t understand that they are sick and need to rest to recover, you do.

Make sure that you stay “in charge” that way and avoid anything too strenuous no matter what your dog “tells” you.

Kennel cough vs. the dog park

When your dog has kennel cough, don’t bring them to the dog park! Dog parks have water bowls, fences, and more, which all dogs will inevitably sniff and check out when they come and go. It’s like a public space for a dog, similar to a public bathroom for humans.

Kennel cough is very contagious, and your dog can spread it to other dogs through these shared surfaces even if there is no direct overlap between your dog being there and another one being there simultaneously.

Kennel cough vs. other dogs

Keep your dog away from other dogs since this is a very contagious condition. If you are used to walking with neighbors and their dogs, you’ll want to skip that until your dog has recovered. After all, you wouldn’t want someone else to infect your dog with kennel cough, so extend them the same favor!

All of these things will make sure that your dog can walk comfortably, even with kennel cough, and prioritize his safety and that of other dogs!

Dog with kennel cough in quarantine inside a kennel.

Do dogs with kennel cough need rest?

Yes, dogs with kennel cough will need rest to offer their body time to recover. This is rest both in terms of panting and otherwise exerting themselves (through their throat) and rest as far as “taking it easy.” The more your dog rests, the better your dog will recover, and they’ll be back to their usual self before you know it!

How much exercise should I give my dog with kennel cough?

There is no rule here, but generally, you should look at 10-20 minute exercise intervals. This will allow your dog to move and enjoy something other than feeling awful but won’t worsen the condition or the healing process.

How long after kennel cough can I walk my dog?

If your dog feels better, you can walk your dog as you normally would. Just integrate them back into the routine slowly, both as far as timing is concerned and when it comes to using a collar instead of a harness. Even if they have recovered, they can sometimes have remnants of the symptoms for a while.

Generally, you can start walking your dog normally, as far as access to dog parks and walking with neighbors, about 2 or 3 weeks after they have recovered. At this point, they’d no longer be contagious.

Tips for exercising a dog with kennel cough

If you want to do your part to exercise your dog when they have kennel cough, but don’t want to worsen their condition, here are some tips:

  • Walk at their pace
  • Be careful to watch for worsening symptoms
  • Avoid all other dogs
  • Don’t bring them to shared spaces

Walking at their pace implies both the physical pace and the length of the walk. If they are tired and need to rest after 5 minutes, that’s fine. There’s no reason to push them onward if they aren’t feeling up to it.

If you are frustrated because your dog is crawling along, then just pick a space where you can move at your own pace or simply sit and watch them move around (like in your backyard)

If their symptoms of kennel cough worsen (coughing, a runny nose, lethargy, etc.,) then bring them inside to rest again. Even if they are happy to keep walking and exploring, urge them to come inside and rest anyway. They will pay for it later if they don’t!

Avoid dogs at the parks or on the street, of course, and any other dogs you have in your household. This is contagious and can spread like wildfire! Don’t forget to warn visitors that your dog has kennel cough, as they could very well bring it home to their dogs!

Can I walk my dog after the kennel cough vaccine?

Yes, you can walk your dog after the kennel cough vaccine. They’ll be tired and resting after the shot, so just keep it short and easy-going. The body will bounce back as it recovers. Generally, you’ll want to quarantine your dog for up to 6 weeks when socializing with other dogs!

All in all

You can walk your dog if they have kennel cough, but you will want to use a harness rather than a collar to promote comfort. You’ll need to also give them lots of time to rest, keep them away from other dogs, and wait until they are no longer contagious when it comes to returning to the dog park or spending time in public spaces.

Just because your dog has kennel cough doesn’t mean you can’t walk them. You need to take a more cautious approach and understand the danger of worsening kennel cough or spreading it to another dog! Know someone who is struggling with this? Share this with them!

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Andre Neves

Hi, I'm Andre and I'm the owner of Sula the Border Collie. I love writing about this amazing dog breed here. I joined the Council to be able to reach and educate more people on the joy of having a pet dog.